Monday, October 07 2013

Q & A with KFA’s Historical Expert, Dganit Shtorch


KFA’s Dganit Shtorch has been involved in historic preservation and reuse in Los Angeles since the 1990; she has worked for the City of Los Angeles Planning Department and currently serves on two HPOZ boards.  We asked her a few questions about the allure of historic buildings and their unique challenges.

How did you first get involved in historic adaptive reuse projects?

“I have been involved with historic projects since my days as a student at USC back in the ’90s. We converted many existing, historic houses and buildings into many different uses, including low-income and market-rate housing. After the undergrad program, I went to the first offering USC had for Historic Preservation studies, and earned a graduate certificate.  Since then, the program has expanded extensively from the interest expressed by students and the community.”

Other than with KFA, what is your background with historic preservation/adaptive reuse?

“Most of the places I have worked included historic projects. The most historic work I did was when I worked for City of LA Planning Department, Office of Historic Resources. Today I am on two HPOZ Boards.”

What do you think is the biggest obstacle architects face while adapting historic buildings today?

“Cost and feasibility while upgrading historic buildings to current life/safety standards.”

How did you get involved on your HPOZ board, and what has your experience been like?

“I was appointed to both Boards (Spaulding Square HPOZ and Hancock Park HPOZ) by the Cultural Heritage Commission. I knew the Commission members through my work at the City. What’s great is that there are five members on each Board so it allows us to have very productive discussions of the Preservation Plans available for each HPOZ or the Secretary of Interior’s Standards – whichever is applicable. The members are from various backgrounds which allows the residents a fair interpretation of the standards set for their communities.”

What has been your favorite historic/ARO project to work on?

“This is hard because the historic / ARO projects at KFA have been memorable and challenging, each in its own way.  I really enjoyed working on the Pegasus and Pacific Electric Building, but I have to say Broadway Hollywood was my favorite for being really challenging but so wonderful in the end, especially because of the outstanding location!”